Getting a place to live while starting a company


How do most startup founders manage to get landlords to allow them to rent property while they are in the process of starting a company, and stable revenue has not struck in yet?

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asked Apr 10 '11 at 22:55
Kamikaze Pilot
253 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans
  • You don't have a place to live? Do you have any history of paying your rent on time? References can help. – Jeff O 13 years ago

3 Answers


Businesses in general fall into a few categories, for the sake of our discussion it will be two. The first requires inventory and a place to sell it. This is your usual store model and requires an up front investment.

Most online and mobile businesses however don't really require up front investment because they carry no inventory. The best ones scale well from one customer to one million customers. The main investment in these businesses is time and founders tend to either invest this time while doing other work, or are financially secure to be able to devote themselves full time to the new business.

Personally I like the approach of doing something on the side to test it out first and if it works and scales devote all my time to it. Rails was written this way, so was Campfire from 37signals. I believe I heard it mentioned that the first versions of Rails were made on 10 hours of extra time a week.

So for physical businesses or something that needs an office I would recommend securing your finances and running lean for a year or so. For online I would recommend sticking to your day job and test the idea out first.

Hope this helps.

answered Apr 11 '11 at 00:52
313 points


Renting office space is expensive, and in most cases it's just a luxury, not a necessity. As has already been mentioned, the best advice we can give you is to forgo the office in the beginning, and work from home if possible. I realize that there may be circumstances that make that hard to impossible for some people, but for most of us in the web and tech world it's a viable solution.

If working from home isn't an option for you, look to see if you can find a family member or friend willing to let you work from a spare room in their house for free or for a very low cost. Part of being an entrepreneur is coming up with creative solutions to hard problems, so I have faith that there is a good low cost solution out there for you.

Now to answer your question - In the case of a business that is just starting out, landlords will focus more on you the individual than they will on the company. They will run a credit check on you to see what your credit history is like. If you have good credit history, and you can show that you have enough savings to afford the property regardless of how your company does, then you have a higher chance of success. Even if you are renting in the company's name, the landlord will most likely make you personally guarantee the lease. That means that if for whatever reason the company can't pay the rent, the landlord can come after you personally for the debt - this is a way for them to reduce their risk.

answered Apr 11 '11 at 01:24
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • The OP is asking about renting *living space* not *office space* – Hedge Mage 13 years ago
  • @HedgeMage: I think what I said applies in either case. – Zuly Gonzalez 13 years ago


Have sound financing so revenuw is not an issue. Or work out of a garage or an appartement. Not that hard. The question is mostly a non-issue if you have enough finance to have a sound balance sheet to present (i.e. money for some months rent etc.). If not, you should not rent in the first place ;)

answered Apr 10 '11 at 23:23
Net Tecture
11 points

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